Machaca in old Mexico was used by “cowboys” down there in similar fashion to jerked beef up North. The major difference being the beef was first cooked, shredded, cooked some more – then dried. It could be snacked on in the saddle “as is” or later re-hydrated with boiling water to make various dishes for all meals. Today, the drying step is generally skipped and the Machaca is generally refrigerated or kept in the freezer. Mixed with other ingredients, depending upon the dish being served, it serves as an almost universal meat filler for tacos, tostadas, rolled tacos, tamales, burritos, soups, stews, bean pots, or even for breakfast dishes such as “Machaca con Huevos”.
The absolute best recipe I have found on-line for making your own Machaca indoors first appeared in early 2002 on Texas Cooking and can still be found there at “How To Make Beef Machaca” by David Bulla.
Here around the old Pondee, we love shredded beef and pulled pork made from smoked briskets and smoked pork butts. The chances are very good you will find a supply of both in Heidi’s big old refrigerator thanks to the efforts of our Son-in-law, Jeff, (who has become quite an outdoor cooking enthusiast – and particularly loves to use his smoker). Given that on-going supply, I decided to put together a recipe which skips the normal braising/boiling technique for Machaca – using pre-cooked (smoked) shredded beef and pulled pork. Admittedly lazy, I used canned ingredients and readily available spices.
Beef & Pork Machaca on the grill
- About 3 lbs shredded beef, (from smoked beef brisket)
- About 2 lbs shredded pork, (from smoked pork butt)
- 1 (29 oz) can of green enchilada sauce
- 2 (4 oz) cans of diced green chilies
- 1 tsp Crystal extra hot (just ’cause)
- 1 tbsp Chili Powder
- 1 tbsp Powdered Cumin
- 1 tbsp Garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried Oregano
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tblsp lemon juice
- 1 large sweet Texas onion finely diced
For this one I will use our Lodge Logic Combo Cooker and indirect heat on the grill to achieve the effect of a slow cooker. This could just as easily be accomplished using the “original” slow cooker called a Dutch Oven with hot coals.
- Chop/mix beef and pork to desired consistency – introduce into large half of combo cooker (or dutch oven)
- Add all ingredients and mix thoroughly with clean hands – try to get everything wet
- Cover combo cooker and place on “cold” side of the grill, set burners on opposite side to medium heat.
- Cook for about 4 hours – you may have to add a little more liquid, but the mixture is supposed to turn out fairly dry without burning/sticking – remember, you are emulating the effect of a crock-pot, so keep the temperature down and only stir/check the mixture about once each half hour.
Notes: Depending upon your desired end-consistency, you will probably want to cool the Machaca in the pot for about an hour, then drain it using a large colander. Use suitable containers or freezer bags to divide it up for future use. Heidi recommends refrigerating it until cold before introducing it into the freezer.
Remember, when you pull your Machaca out of the fridge, you will probably be mixing in more ingredients depending upon what dish you will be preparing. Avoid the temptation to “over-spice” the basic mixture knowing you will be kicking it up several more notches later on. 8)